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Saudi Arabia's King Salman tweets Eid greeting as he leaves hospital

Monarch had been in Riyadh's King Faisal hospital for 10 days after surgery to remove gall bladder
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Riyadh (Reuters)

Leaving hospital after after a 10-day stay, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz tweeted congratulations for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The 84-year-old monarch left the King Faisal hospital in the capital Riyadh on Thursday following successful laparoscopic surgery to remove his gall bladder.

"I congratulate everyone on the blessed Eid al-Adha, may God bring it back on us and on you for good, blessing, health and wellness," he tweeted early on Friday.

He also praised Muslims travelling to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage and asked for God to lift the coronavirus pandemic.

The foreign ministry also tweeted a video of the king leaving the hospital, walking with the aid of a cane and accompanied by a retinue, including his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It is rare for Saudi Arabia to report on the health of the ageing monarch, who has ruled the top oil exporter and the Arab world's biggest economy since 2015.

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However, the king's hospitalisation prompted Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to postpone his scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia.

A video released by state media shortly after the announcement showed the monarch chairing a virtual cabinet meeting from hospital, in an apparent effort to dispel rumours about his health.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia dismissed reports and mounting speculation that the king was planning to abdicate in favour of his son, who is seen as the de facto ruler.

Under the king's rule, Saudi Arabia has launched ambitious economic reforms for a post-oil era and given more rights to women, but also adopted a more assertive foreign policy and entered a war in neighbouring Yemen.

The king is the second reigning monarch in the Gulf to be hospitalised recently, after Kuwait's 91-year-old emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, amid the twin regional crises of the coronavirus pandemic and a plunge in crude prices.